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OECD Report: 75% of Americans Overweight/Obese by 2020

October 26, 2010

The startling facts:

According to the Yahoo! News report by Greg Keller:

The lifespan of an obese person is up to 8-10 years shorter than that of a normal-weight person, the OECD said, the same loss of lifespan incurred by smoking.

…the ranks of the overweight have swelled to nearly 70 percent in the U.S. this year from well under 50 percent in 1980, according to the OECD.

In 10 years, a full 75 percent of Americans will be overweight, making it “the fattest country in the OECD,” the report said.

The projection seems in line with those made by some American researchers. About 86 percent of U.S. adults would be overweight or obese by 2030 if current trends continue, according to a study led by a Johns Hopkins University researcher and published in 2008 in the journal Obesity.

However, the most recent findings by U.S. government scientists indicate the obesity epidemic may be leveling off, with roughly two-thirds of adults overweight and holding steady in the last few years.

Overweight and obesity is measured by BMI, which does not take lean muscle mass into account. Therefore a bodybuilder is considered obese due to his weight for height. However, for the general population (and for large scale estimates like this), it is a rather accurate indicator since the number of bodybuilders in the general population is relatively small.

The article’s proposed reasons for increase:
1) Increased access to cheap, unhealthy food
2) Less time preparing meals at home and eating out more
3) More sedentary lifestyle at work and play

The issues are clear: deteriorating healthful eating habits and increased sedentary lifestyle. The solutions are not.

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